If there is something very interesting about the audacious presence of the Coronavirus and the global war against the pandemic, it is the fact that the virus has mercilessly and disrespectfully exposed the weaknesses and self-centeredness of many world leaders and how far these seemingly invincible leaders can go to safeguard their political ambition and survival. From denying the existence of the COVID-19, calling it just the common flu, the Wuhan virus, tactically mandating subordinates to coordinate the Corona-related assignments to later shift the blame to them, in case of failures, to blaming others for the leaders’ incompetence and inefficiency in handling the pandemic. In the light of this pandemonium, the recent ultimatum given by the US President Donald Trump to the World Health Organization (WHO), threatening to pull US funding permanently from the body, over Covid-19, does less than explain in clarity the idiom give a dog a bad name and kill it.
In the letter addressed to the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the USA president Donald Trump gave the world health body a 30-day deadline to commit to “substantive improvements” or risk losing millions in US funding and US membership as well. Amongst others, President Trump accused the WHO of:
- Delaying an emergency declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak under pressure from President Xi Jinping.
- Praising China’s “transparency” despite its censorship and lack of international co-operation.
- Claiming Dr Tedros could have saved “many lives” if he had taken the same steps as Dr Harlem Brundtland, the WHO boss the Sars outbreak in 2003.
- Failing to comment on the COVID-19 related xenophobic attacks against Africans in China.
Hum! Never knew Mr Trump was such a lover of Africans and the black race in general. Well, President Trump’s racial consciousness may have explained why he was equally mum on the xenophobic attacks against Africans in China, and the consistent racial antagonism against blacks, since he came to the office, especially in the hands of the law enforcement agents, in the USA. You definitely wouldn’t expect anything least from someone who repeatedly described himself as “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered.” Not even the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan who descended onto Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, causing chaos and violence that led to the death of at least three innocent people could think otherwise. Why would they, after all, Trump defended their protest and effectively legitimated their racist act by calling them “some very fine people.” You now understand why President Trump has the moral credentials and authority to poke the WHO on the nose for failing to comment on the COVID-19 related xenophobic attacks against Africans in China; don’t you?
Mr Trump had previously criticised the UN’s health body as a “puppet of China,” this time around, he accused the WHO of an alarming lack of independence” from China, in its response to the Coronavirus outbreak. On the other hand, President Trump has consistently insisted that he and his team have done “incredibly good job” despite the alarming number of COVID-19 related deaths in the USA.
Faced with a re-election battle in November this year, and having been criticised at home for his poor handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, which has infected 1,593,039 (out of 5,103,350 infected cases worldwide) people and claimed 95,000 lives (as of 21st May 2020) in the USA, President Trump has been struggling to find scapegoats. Just anyone or agency he believes could be held responsible for Trump’s shortcomings. And he found one in former President Obama, China, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the USA’s ‘leading national public health institute under the Department of Health and Human Services. For a President who believes he knows everything better than anyone, including experts in various fields, it was not a surprise to anyone when President Trump ignored the dire warnings of his medical experts, including disease and infection experts from the DEA and CDC over the impending devastating effects of COVID-19 and the high rate of deaths that would come with it, if adequate precautions would not be taken by the Trump administration. As usual, Mr Trump, who relies heavily on the high employment in the USA as his winning joker card in the November Presidential elections, downplayed the warnings from his medical experts. He stubbornly labelled the Coronavirus a common cold and insisted Americans should rather ignore the warnings of the health experts and go back to work and carry on with their businesses.
It was not China or the WHO that advised the Americans or the world to ignore the deadly consequences of the Coronavirus, or not to take adequate measures to curtail the spread of the deadly virus. Trump did so in the USA. And innocent Americans are paying a huge price for Trump’s irresponsible decision and inadequacies. Surely, the COVID-1p pandemic has revealed how some leaders put their personal and political aggrandisements first before the lives of their citizens. Take a look at Brazil with President Jair Bolsonaro, a staunch ally of President Trump, on top. Like his political godfather, Trump, Jair Bolsonaro refused to accept the dire warnings from his health experts about the corona and arrogantly forced his citizens to go on with their daily lives. Today, Brazil has, globally, the third-highest number of infections (294,152 ) after the USA and Russia with 19,038 deaths. Yet, like Trump, President Bolsonaro has not only refused to accept his failures in handling the outbreak of the Coronavirus, he is rather blaming others for his carelessness and inhuman acts. What a leader! Where is our conscience?
For sure, no sane person would believe China, which is allergic to the truth as an honest, credible partner to trust when it comes to censorship issues. The secrecy and the communist ideological tendencies of China make it very difficult for anyone to know the true origin of the Coronavirus and how it started to spread. China may have reported the first outbreak of the Coronavirus late as well as falsified figures, but that is not enough for Trump to hold the WHO responsible for the global deaths and economic havoc arising from the pandemic. The WHO has its share of criticism. It took the agency time to recognise the scale of the threat posed by the virus outbreak in China and to label it as a pandemic, but experts have argued that the delay had more to do with the bureaucracies and cautious approach of WHO to avoid creating unnecessary panic globally, which might hurt the global economies. The WHO made efforts to verify the reports and investigate the outbreak of the virus, but as expected, the Chinese government effectively blocked that move. The WHO has no legal mandate to force itself in China or any other country to collect and verify the date. So it is absurd for the USA government to blame everyone except itself for its impotence, negligence and insensitivity in the face of the pandemic in its soil. Interestingly, from the 5,113,706 infected cases worldwide, with330,361deaths, the USA is leading the chart with close to 95,000 deaths. Despite the advancement in the USA’s health system (mainly for the rich, not for the poor citizens!!), it is not proud for one to say that the US recorded more Corona-related deaths than poorer countries like Uganda, Kenya, Sri Lanka etc. Assuming (yes, mind my word, assuming) the WHO reacted a bit late to the spread of the Coronavirus, as the Trump administration would want the world to believe, why have other much poorer been able to control the spread of the virus and recorded fewer deaths than the USA? Should the World Health Organisation or President Trump’s government’s poor handling of the pandemic be held responsible for the high Corona deaths in the USA? Your guess is as good as mine.
In his reaction, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused President Trump of trying to mislead the public by shifting the blame for the American’s incompetent response as well as blaming China for the USA’s failures to respond to the pandemic effectively.
The Ethiopian-born director-general of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has on Monday backed calls for a review of the agency’s handling of the pandemic, and it has been agreed in a meeting with the UNO stockholders for an independent evaluation of the case. China has equally given its approval of the plan, but insisted such an investigation would only take place after the Coronavirus pandemic. Even with the availability of a vaccine, not many health experts believe that the coronavirus may disappear any time soon.
With a shortage of testing kits, a very limited test carried out, ignoring health expert’s advice, aimed at keeping the virus and the initial denial of the seriousness of the COVID-19 in the USA, Trump should have accepted the bitter pills of failures. Worse still, overwhelming evidence shows that the Trump administration had knowledge of the virus outbreak as early as in November 2019 but failed to act on the report and the advice of his health professionals until it became too dangerous too effectively manage and subdue. All these added together, how can President Trump and his bunch of sycophants have the moral right to point an accusing finger at others for their failures in the USA, which has cost millions of jobs, lives and future of Americans?
The November Presidential election is at the corner, the winning card, the economy is no more sustainable. How about the hydroxychloroquine claims as an answer to the COVID-19 virus? That did not stick nor sink. Let us try injecting disinfectant. Baptise COVID-19 as Wuhan virus? A few days ago, President Trump claimed he takes hydroxychloroquine to ward off coronavirus, despite the USA public health officials warning that it is unsafe. Interestingly, Mr Trump admitted he has not tested positive for the Coronavirus. Nor did his doctor recommended the tablet for the President. So the question is: Why would the President of the USA, whom many look up to for morality and direction, especially in this difficult time, claim he takes hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19 even though he is not infected with the virus? The answer is simple: to illegally legalise and encourage Americans to shun the advice of the health officials, take the medicine and hopefully go back to work. Remember Trump’s job/employment winning card. Right? Many see President trump’s decision as a sheer display of shrewdness and insensitive to the health of an average American. More than that, it shows Trump’s desperate and selfish attempt to win the upcoming election at all costs – even if that means endangering the lives of an average American. He is more likely to achieve his goal easily if voters will go to work and bridge the unemployment gap – his winning card. Lately, the Centres for Disease Control (CDC ) lamented that the Whitehouse is actively water washing its health advice and recommendations simply to achieve Trump’s political ambitions. The (CDC) has reiterated there are no approved drugs or therapeutics to treat or prevent the Coronavirus. What would one expect from the self-obsessed President, who knows everything better, as such, he cannot take advice from medical professionals? Nor would conceited Trump accept he has made a mistake along the line while tackling the aggressive virus. No! That heroic and noble act would tarnish is tattered ego. So someone else must bear the responsibility. There must be a scapegoat. And there are plenty of them out there.
To exonerate yourself from your failures and inglorious acts, you must find a scapegoat. A carrier. Create a storyline – a repeated narrative – to sell the scapegoatism. Repeat the narrative. Repeatedly, and it becomes the truth. Paint the carrier black – definitely not white – and pour all the blames and the faults on the scapegoat. If you want to kill an innocent dog and justify your action, first give the dog a bad name before you kill it. Do you wonder why ours is the world of a stoical stage, filled with astute, shrewd and often heartless actors, ready to sacrifice all to achieve their ambitions while playing the major roles?